Minimizing Screen Times

The coronavirus pandemic has ushered in extended periods of staying at home, very few outings, and a severe lack of interpersonal communication. Under such circumstances, screens quickly become tools for alleviating boredom. Now, more than ever, it is important to learn how to handle them as part of a healthier routine.

Informed Use of Screens

7 excellent ways to minimize children's screen times:

  • Determine the allotted screen time together with the children. Try not to make the decisions on your own and involve them as partners in this discussion.
  • They are not going to pick up a book instead – so there's not much point in continued suggestions. Sentences like "when I was your age" would not help much either. However, a personal example might help. We are the children's living example. If we can't put the screens down, how could we expect them to do so?
  • Friends Day – We agree on one day when friends may come for a visit and throw in some exciting action to the mix, like a sports tournament, arts and crafts, cooking, or any other thing that could make the day just a little more special.
  • "Screen-Free" Time – Agree together as a family on a screen-free time. This could be during dinner, at certain times in the afternoon, or a specific lights-out hour for screens at night – each family according to its own customs. And yes, it also includes the adults of the house.
  • Going Outside – Leave the screens behind and go breathe some air. It could be a leisurely walk, playing in the park, meeting friends, or anything else.
  • Keep cell phones off at home – For children younger than 12, cell phones should only be used for communications outside the house. Therefore, when the children come home, there shouldn't be any reason why they shouldn't turn their cell phones off and put them aside.

And the adults, what about them?

  • Limit screen use – Try enjoying the "here and now" during social events and meetings
  • Keep screens away from the bed – turn them off or remove them from the room.
  • Take a break – Take a 20 second break every 20 minutes and look to a distance of about 6 meters.
  • When sending messages – prefer texting to calling.
  • When talking on the cell phone – prefer using the speaker, a hands free device, or earbuds with wires.

In conclusion, in order to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle during the coronavirus pandemic and in general, it is recommended that you encourage the children to engage in activities both at home and outdoors. This is the opportunity to teach them to prefer such activities as board games or jigsaw puzzles. Oh, and don't forget about trying to maintain a no-screens-zone at mealtimes and while tucking them in before bed. For their part, adults should try and serve as an example by reducing screen times and maintaining informed use of screens.

For further information, you may want to watch the video Personal and Family Resilience During the Coronavirus Pandemic